Today, I found a journal of mine that I haven’t written in for years. I had a pen in hand so I went at it and started writing. Soon enough, I found myself writing an analogy that many can probably relate to. This doesn’t just go for chronic pain, but with many other trials and burdens too. This specific experience that I wrote about is to a great extent. I thought I’d let you all know beforehand not to feel guilty about any of this (considering that many of you probably know me personally). I have felt so much love and support from family, friends, teachers, and classmates. I also want you to know that this isn’t an “always” scenario; we’ve all felt like this at some point in our lives I’m sure. And remember, it gets better.
“If someone were to ask me what the hardest part of having Lyme Disease is, I wouldn’t respond with the sleepless nights, the foggy brain, or the great pain. The most challenging thing about living with a chronic disease is feeling as if you are letting people down; people you love and would do anything for. It’s a large task, having to keep up with others’ expectations while still struggling to keep up with yourself. You are always feeling so useless. You feel inable to be yourself and live to your fullest. It’s like you are trapped inside a cage without a key. In order to get anywhere (emotionally or physically), you have to push the cage and drag it around with you wherever you go. The weight forces you. The pressure changes you and limits what you used to love to do. The metal bars surrounding you kill you inside. This cage doesn’t even have to be big to be such a challenge. Say it tightly encloses you as you walk through the school halls. Your friends joke and talk with you, but you still feel lonely. They try to high-five you or hug you to show support, but you can’t feel it. You try your best to smile and be who you once were, but you aren’t the same and this cage has blocked you from feeling those around. This cage has essentially stopped others from entering your life. You stand there feeling isolated watching everyone around you, and the worst part is, your cage is invisible. No one can see the weight you carry, so you pretend like it’s not there. Why would you explain your weight if it’ll burden those around you? Why would you ‘give’ them the cage? What if it’ll hurt them the same way it did to you? This is how I used to think. This is how I used to feel. I didn’t want to put the weight on anyone else. I didn’t want to worry them. I thought that by denying this cell, the bars would rust and the cage would fade, but this was very untrue. What I didn’t realize was, the more I hid, the larger and more dense the cage became. The more I slapped on a fake smile, the more my real frown deepened. The more I denied, the more the cage held me in. About six months ago, I decided that a change needed to happen. SLOWLY, I let some of those around me in. I started to accept my weight and share it with others. Once it became known, a miracle happened! The more people I told, the less weight I felt. By letting them in, I let them help me lift the cage. Rather than my original two hands pushing the cage, I was able to lift with only one. Rather than my original methods of force, I was able to relieve the pain I had felt through others. With one hand on my cage, I could reach out to others. Not only did my cage become more visible, but so did the cages of those around me. With my free hand, I lifted their cages and learned something extremely valuable. There is no way of lifting your burdens when they are invisible. The only way to raise your cage is to make it visible to those around you.”
With the previous statements in mind, I want to challenge you all to reveal your struggles. Let others help you. I’ve learned so much from my experiences and I will tell you, going through something alone is the most painful and heart wrenching thing there is. I think that this is one of the main reasons I created this blog; not only did I want to share with you my experiences, but I knew that I needed to reveal my truths before I attempt to raise anything. I also want to mention, even though I still have Lyme today, even though my cage is still surrounding me, I am not alone. I have been able to go places! Just because I still sometimes feel this way, It does not mean that my family and friends have left me. After all, I still had to carry with one hand. The support of my loved ones did not cure me of my disease, it simply made it easier to bear.